NU Wins - Its a First Step

The Northwestern University Wildcats got the 2003 season off to a good start with a win Saturday night over Kansas in a driving rain storm.<br><br> Here's some of the statistics and words from the NU Coach, Randy Walker after the game...

The Northwestern Wildcats rolled over Kansas last night in a win that seemed to come down to the wire, but statistically was never in doubt.
NU Senior Running Back Jason Wright led the way with 4 touchdowns, rushing 41 times for 196 yards. Sophomore QB Brett Basanez showed no soph jinx as he was 23 for 36 and 223 yards and one interception.

Roger Jordan and Kunle Patrick led all receivers with 7 catches each; Jordan had 111 yards, Patrick 58 as he kept his streak alive. Former defensive end Ray Bogenrief had 4 receptions, including a couple that were critical in keeping a drive going.

Comparing the two teams: NU had 25 first downs to Kansas' 14 and maybe the most telling stat - only 1 turnover for the Cats, 5 for Kansas, including 1 caused by DE Loren Howard and one by CB Jeff Bakes. Time of possession - 40 minutes for the Cats, 20 for Kansas.

After the game NU Coach Randy Walker - from the locker room with WGN's Ted Albrecht -

Randy Walker: [apparently talking about the defense - joined in progress] Real Well, I'm awful proud of that unit. I thnk Greg Colby and Jerry Brown, Fitz and Jay Peterson, they do a great job and they've got those kids believeing.

This is a big step for us and I think we have a chance to really build on this. They say you learn as much from game 1 to game 2 as any part of the season, and that should take place and I think...you know I told you before the game, I'm going into this, hey, we're still uncertain and we need to learn about ourselves where we can go as a football team, where we can go as a defense and offense.

TA: The mood setter was when Louis Ayeni just laid someone early in that 1st quarter...that was a scene setter in my eyes:
RW: We got some good things going on. I've said it before, our leadership and the way these kids have started way back in December, its going to give us a chance. We've got some great kids, kids who work hard, and we have some kids who take accountability and ownership of this football team.

And Louis Ayeni is one of them. He could have left and graduated and went on with his life, he had a rough career, a lot of injuries. He chose to come back, play his 5th year and be someone special, and I think he can be.

TA: Jason Wright - 4 TDs, 188 unofficial yards, what can you expect from him in '03?
RW: Well, I think we all know what we think of Jason and he has a chance to have a very special year, He's a heck of a football player, and unfortunately, because of the conditions tonight, I don't think we were able to see the best Jason Wright. It was tough sledding out there.

But we're going to get a good field and a good ball and a dry ball and the kid can do some special things in a lot of aspects of the game.

TA: Sweet win, huh?
RW: Well, we'll take it. I thought in the first half we really had a chance to maybe put 'em away. But we had a couple of those plays that just got out of the gate on us.

But in the long run, might have been the best thing that could happen for us. To have to come back, to have to play with adversity, learn how to respond and it was good fortune to come out with a win.

TA: Congratulations Coach - great start
The Player Interviews will be up sometime tomorrow as the Purple Reign coverage of NU Win #1 continues.


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